Home' Motoring Plus : May 18th 2016 Contents THE NELSON MAIL Wednesday, May 18, 2016 — 7
Big Merc racer
The AMG C63 S Coupe parked at Sydney Motorsport Park. But what’s that car in the background?
Damien O’Carroll has gone all weak at the
knees – and it’s all because of a special
experience during the media launch of
Mercdes-Benz’s new AMG S63 S Coupe.
The GT3 race car is
sexy and ballistic, says
writer Damien O’Carroll.
The C63 S Coupe will go
head-to-head against the
BMW M4 Coupe.
ou would imagine that it
would be slightly difficult
to make a performance
car powered by a 375kW/
700Nm 4.0 -litre twin-turbo V8,
capable of scampering to the legal
speed limit in a scant 3.9 seconds,
feel a bit feeble and weak-kneed.
But Mercedes-Benz has
managed that at the launch of the
coupe version of the brilliant
AMG C63 S.
How so? In the most
spectacular way possible, of
course – by having the fearsome
GT3 racing car present.
The chance to throw an AMG
Mercedes around a great race
track – in this case the Sydney
Motorsport Park, more commonly
known as Eastern Creek – is
simply not one a motoring
journalist turns down without
good reason, but in this case there
was a sweetener on offer – a
chance to go for a few hot laps in
the passenger seat of the GT3.
That’ll do nicely.
The C63 S Coupe itself is a
serious piece of machinery, with
the aforementioned twin-turbo V8
shared with the sedan and wagon
versions. The coupe, however,
adds 64mm to the front track and
66mm to the rear and knocks a
10th of a second off the 0 to 100
sprint of the sedan.
Was any of this noticeable on
the track? Really? You would have
to be pretty special to pick a
difference between the two
without driving them back-to-
back (hints were dropped, but to
no avail), but, if anything, the
coupe felt slightly sharper and
grippier that the last sedan I
drove. Or maybe I imagined it.
Either way, the C63 sedan is no
slouch and neither is the coupe.
Two variants of the coupe were
available at Eastern Creek for us
to drive – the standard C63 S and
the Edition 1 limited edition car
that will be available until the
factory decides otherwise.
The Edition 1 has become
something of a recent tradition
with new AMG cars and adds lots
of stickers, aero extras and
performance kit for a bargain
price. Well, relatively at least.
The Edition 1 kit on the coupe
includes special AMG alloy
wheels, a special grey matt paint
job, shouty yellow decals and
yellow stitching on the interior,
an aero package and ceramic
composite front brakes for $10,990.
The brakes alone are a $9900
option on the sedan, so you see
what I mean by ‘‘relative
The C63 S Coupe lands in New
Zealand at $172,900, pricing it slap
up against the $169,500 BMW M4
coupe, that with its 317kW/550Nm
3.0 -litre turbo in-line six is
handily out-grunted by the AMG.
On the track, the coupe felt
incredibly predictable, well-
planted and superbly confident,
even at speeds that a sane person
will never, ever see on the open
road, yet it also managed to
provide a sense of playfulness and
delicacy, particularly around the
rear that was happy to gently step
out under the command of the
huge torque controlled by your
While the slightly droopy,
melted rear end of the coupe may
not appeal to all, the serious
firepower and effortless ability is
universally appealing and driving
the C63 S on a track is something
that every owner should
experience at least once.
Preferably several times.
In fact, one of the few things
that could make you forget all
about a C63 on track would be the
GT3 race car. And, did it ever.
As is usual with these sort of
hot laps, it first involves you
standing around in the sun in a
full race suit, sweating heavily
and pretending to be relaxed.
Soon enough the GT3 bucks and
grumbles into the pit lane and you
have to jam on a helmet and
HANS-device before clambering
in a particularly ungainly fashion
over the roll cage and into the
passenger’s seat of this
spectacular successor to the
mighty SLS GT3.
The GT3 packs the same
naturally-aspirated 6.3 -litre V8 as
the SLS, with actual power and
torque figures a closely-guarded
secret, although the SLS raced in
Europe with more than 400kW.
As it turned out Dominic
Storey was to be my chauffeur, as
the young Kiwi has recently
joined the AMG-backed entry into
the Australian GT Championship
run by Eggleston Motorsport.
The GT3, perhaps more than
any other racing car I have ever
been in, does not like going slow.
In fact, it seriously objects to it –
bucking, snorting and angrily
shuddering up the Eastern Creek
pit lane as Storey guides it out
onto the track halfway around
Giving it a dose of throttle
down into turn two turns the GT3
utterly feral, as it belts towards
the corner at a frankly alarming
rate, making a truly, deeply
impressive noise that only a big
naturally-aspirated V8 can
The GT3’s engine is
staggeringly responsive, the noise
worryingly arousing and the
brakes could stop the rotation of
As a result, the next lot of laps I
drove myself in the standard C63
seemed, well, slow and ordinary
Make no mistake; the
Mercedes-AMG C63 S Coupe is a
brilliant piece of kit on a track.
It’s just that the GT3 is
ferocious, aggressive, sexy and
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